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Seven miles of golden sand and sheltered waters make Bournemouth a firm favourite for beach and activity holidays. Perfect not only for families with its pioneering beach safety KidZone scheme and dog-free areas.

By day, the town is a shopper's paradise, a combination of high-street favourites and exclusive boutiques. The fashionable new-look Square, with its mosaics and stylish camera Obscura centrepiece, gives an atmosphere of continental chic.

As the sun sets over the Victorian architecture, the nightlife in the vibrant and cosmopolitan town centre starts to hot up. Bournemouth caters for all tastes from West End blockbusters, hilarious comedians, classical concerts and plays to some of the hottest night-clubs in the country. Night owls will certainly be spoilt for choice. Bournemouth's summer Festival For Families offers six weeks of free first-class entertainment for all ages.

For children, a Kids Free Entertain-tent and beach GameZones offer a packed daily programme of activities. Adults will enjoy the Musicmakers Festival which welcomes music groups from all over the world, Flowers by candlelight where the Lower gardens are transformed into a twinkling fairyland, and the spectacular Friday Night Fireworks. Popular spots include a visit to the new indoor Wacky Warehouse play area, or discover the wonders of the world's oceans at the Oceanarium.

Bournemouth's beautiful beach and excellent leisure facilities make it a popular choice for sports enthusiasts and international sporting events. The seafront plays host to a number of high profile events each year, including the UKOBA Powerboating Grand Prix, Beach volleyball Grand Prix and, for motoring enthusiasts, the first leg of the Mintex National Rally Championship.

Bournemouth's location makes it ideal for recreational sport as diverse as fishing, pony-trekking, cycling and water-sports.

Bournemouth's central location on the south coast makes it an ideal base for exploring the surrounding cultural heritage and stunning countryside that complement its own coastal beauty. To the west, the spectacular craggy rock formations of the Purbecks are the perfect setting for some breathtaking coastal walks. Inland, picturesque Dorset villages nestle amid a rich literary heritage, inspiration for many of Thomas Hardy's classics.

Impressive historical ruins and stately homes stand proud in rolling countryside, whilst to the east the ancient New Forest remains a symbol of traditional England.